Junior lawyer's skillset: The art of good negotiation

Junior lawyer's skillset: The art of good negotiation


What makes a successful lawyer? What are the qualities of a good lawyer in a negotiation situation? Following on from our other articles, Junior lawyer’s skillset: Effective communication, and Junior lawyer’s skillset: 5 tips for presenting with style, next in our junior in-house lawyer series is an insight into the dynamics of good negotiation.   

Negotiation is probably one of the more advanced skills we have discussed in this series. The outcome and success of a deal or contract is also highly variable and difficult to predict, which can make preparing for meetings more challenging.

Skilled negotiators don’t always know the outcome of the meeting when they enter it. However, it is their responsiveness to the arguments of other side, their assertiveness and their sensitivity to human behaviour that will ultimately dictate the success of their position.

In our LexisPSL series, on Junior Lawyer Development, we outline the following key characteristics of a successful lawyer and negotiator.

The good news is that as a trained lawyer you will probably have most of these under your belt in some way:

Patient - They recognise they may not get everything all in one sitting

Creative - Always looking for different ways to satisfy the requirements of everyone

Flexible - Able to changing conditions in the market and around the negotiating table

Ask lots of questions - Knowledge is power and asking questions can give knowledge

Don’t annoy the other side - They recognise the importance of the long term relationship

Control emotions - Not giving in to shouting and tantrums to get their way

Confident - Portraying a confident manner, even if they may not always feel it

Well prepared - Have done their research and understand what’s on the table

Play to their strengths - Understand their own style and how to use it to maximum effect

Adaptable - Able to adapt their personal style to influence others


However, how do you know how to respond to the changing needs of the other side? Can you handle different personalities, and how they might impact your skills

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About the author:

Amy leads the thought leadership and content strategy for LexisNexis UK. Her work appears in marketing campaigns, in industry press and in legal trade magazines. She is an established creative writer and researcher, with her articles appearing in national publications, such as City A.M. and Financial IT. She is also one of the writers and digital editors of LexisNexis' insights blogs including the Future of Law, and the In-house blog.